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BEIJING, China - The 2017 World Archery Para Championships began today with U.S. archers competing in the recurve and compound open men's qualification rounds and early individual eliminations.
At the last installment of this event in 2015, the U.S. compound open men's team dominated, taking the World Champion title. Rejoining the squad, Rio 2016 Paralympic Champion Andre Shelby (Jacksonville, Florida) and Ben Thompson (Ladsden South Carolina) qualified 3rd and 5th respectively with 695 and 693 behind the top score of 700 shot by Slovakia's Pavlik.
Rounding out the team is Lance Thornton (Scotts City, Missouri), who represented the U.S. at the 2013 World Archery Para Championships. Ranking 31st with a 672, Thornton helped put the team in the first-place qualification slot for a strong chance at a repeat title win, and just 3 points outside of their reigning world record qualification score.
Thornton went on to win his first elimination match later in the day, taking a 141-134 victory over Poland's Kornatowski to advance. Shelby and Thompson are pre-seeded into the 1/16th round for their top eight qualification scores.
Paralympian Michael Lukow (Salt Lake City, Utah) led the recurve open men's team in qualification today, scoring 633 to rank 5th. The top score on the field was a 641 posted by Korea's Min Su Kim. USA's Kevin Mather (Lakewood, Colorado) and Timothy Palumbo (Williamsville, New York) qualified 37th and 45th respectively with 580 and 564, giving the team a 10th place combined qualification score.
In his international debut, Mather went on to face No. 28, Azbileg of Mongolia. Mather took the second set with a perfect 30 to bring the score to 2-2, but Azbileg outshot Mather in the next two sets to take the 6-2 win. Palumbo, shooting against 20th seed Tomasulo of Italy, split the first set and then took the next two. Up 5-1, Palumbo lost his lead as Tomasulo took the next two sets to force a one-arrow shoot off. Both arrows found gold, but Tomasulo's was the winner.
Competition continues tomorrow with qualification for the W1 archers and the compound open women, followed by early individual elimination matches and mixed team and team elimination matches through the semifinals. Complete results from the competition can be found at www.worldarchery.org. For more, follow USA Archery on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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